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One America - Diversity and Racial Equity Summit Meetings and Roundtables

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One America

Program: Diversity and Racial Equity Summit Meetings and Roundtables, Davenport, Iowa
Contact(s): Ms. Brenda Drew-Peeples, Executive Director: (319) 326-0717
Purpose: To combat racism and promote pluralism in the Quad-Cities area of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois
Background Program Operations Outcomes


In the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, students from Davenport's Sudlow Junior High School formally approached then Mayor Patrick J. Gibbs and the City Council requesting guidance during a time of national racial turmoil. As a result of his previous efforts to eliminate and reduce discrimination and racial discord in the community, Mayor Gibbs enjoyed a positive working relationship with the Davenport Civil Rights Commission (DCRC). To answer the students' concerns, Mayor Gibbs, together with the DCRC Executive Director, Brenda Drew-Peeples, crafted a new program which employed a collaborative, community based problem-solving model. Davenport and the rest of the Quad Cities (Moline, Rock Island and Bettendorf) prepared and launched a series of Diversity Summits and Roundtables.

Program Operations

Civic, religious and business leaders from Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois joined ranks with a broad cross-section of "Quad Citians," who embraced a united commitment to racial equity and to the value of their community's rich cultural diversity. The Quad Cities Mayors jointly hosted two Diversity and Racial Equity Summits in 1993 and 1995.This cross-state collaboration created constructive discourse among citizens and produced the Diversity and Racial Equity Roundtables. These Roundtables actively address many of the issues generated by the summit meetings. Today, three such Roundtables continue, and they focus on the media, conflict resolution and education.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

At its inception, the Summit process generated Roundtables addressing issues of economic development, political action health and cultural climate. The Diversity and Racial Equity Summits and Roundtables served as a model for communities throughout Iowa and Illinois. The Education Roundtable was instrumental in making diversity a positive theme in area school districts. Among its accomplishments is an annual Cultural Diversity Festival and a leadership conference drawing students from the entire Quad-Cities. The Conflict Resolution Roundtable created a handbook identifying civic organizations which address conflict resolution. Additionally, this group hosted a year long series of Police and Community Forums which draw participants from the entire Quad- Cities area. Every local law enforcement agency was actively involved and the participants advocated for the fair treatment of people of color by law enforcement. As a result of this forum series, a Police and Community Public Relations Roundtable will be created and is targeted to begin in October 1998. In 1997, the Media Roundtable created an award winning multimedia public relations campaign, entitled "Diversity is You and Me." Additionally, this Roundtable continues to host a series of workshops which promote mutual communications between media sources and their diverse audiences. This group is currently creating a second generation public relations campaign to build upon the powerful imagery of its initial effort.

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